How can you pack without forgetting things? How can you know how much skin care products you should bring? How can you bring just enough makeup - not too much and not too little?
Read on to learn my tips and tricks!
1. I have a packing list
This is a list of everything I pack when I go away. This list has everything from my passport, to my cellphone charger (which I tend to forget), to clothes. EVERYTHING.
I'm pretty good about clothes. As long as I have "clothes", "underwear", "socks", "bras" on the list, I won't forget anything. I usually make a separate packing list for the actual clothes I'm going to bring, to ensure that I don't bring too much or too little.
This list is tailored to my own needs, so it has a lot of things that you probably won't need. For example, steel-toed shoes are on the list since I need them for work. This list is something I've written down in a small notepad I bring everywhere with me. As my needs change, I have changed things on this list.
2. I have a list of things not yet in my suitcase
I always pack on the weekend prior to my departure date. This gives me enough time to buy something if I need it before the trip.
However, if I pack that much in advance, there are a lot of things that I can't yet put into my suitcase. For example, I'll use my toothbrush until the morning that I leave. I need a way to remember what I haven't packed yet.
See the yellow post-it on the picture above? That is everything which I have not yet put into my suitcase. I write down everything that I haven't packed yet so that I remember to pack them on the morning of the flight, such as my laptop and glasses. I cross things off as I put them into by bag.
I'm usually in a rush in the morning before my flight. This post-it note has helped me so many times!
3. I know how much shampoo/shower gel/makeup remover I need to bring
This is an excerpt from the notebook I mentioned above. It shows how much cleanser, toner, shampoo, etc that I need to bring with me.
For example, if I'm going on a 5-day trip, I know I need to bring 4ml * 5days = 20ml of shampoo with me. On the other hand, if I'm going on a month long trip, I need to bring 150ml of shampoo.
This helps me not overpack and still not run out of things that I need.
You might think I'm OCD to make a list like this. I've been on month-long business trips to developing nations. Things like having nice shampoo or cleanser to use really made a difference in relieving the stress I got, both from working in a new place and not being able to do things for fun.
If you are going somewhere where you know you can buy things that you need, you wouldn't need a list like this. However, there are many times where you don't know which brands you should buy, or even where you should buy it!
You might want to know how I figured out how much of each thing I need. I filled several travel-sized bottles with these things, and kept track of how many days it took to use them up. I was careful to use the "normal" amount, and not skimp on anything. You can see from the notes above - I used a 125 ml bottle of contact lens solution in 35 days = 3.3 ml/day.
All of my skin care stuff goes into this bag from Muji. The hook on top is very convenient to hang from towel hangers and the like.
4. I know I have just enough makeup
This bag, also from Muji, has all the makeup I need. If you've seen my "rotating makeup" post, you'll know that I am very good at selecting enough products that I can make different looks and not be bored for 2-3 weeks.
Before I go on my trip, I will pack this bag, and try using ONLY the products from this bag for 2-3 days. This helps me in 2 ways.
First, I'll notice if there is anything that I need which I have forgotten. I've forgotten to pack things like foundation, and also things like tweezers and scissors which I only use every few days, but that I need to bring on a longer trip.
Second, I'll notice if there are products which I haven't touched. When I do my makeup, I typically dump everything out of this bag onto a table, and put things back into the bag as I use them. Anything that is remaining on the table when I finish my makeup hasn't been used. I notice when the same things remain on the table. This way, I'll know if 5 lipsticks is too many for me (yes, it is), or if 8 eyeshadows is too many for me (no, it's not). For example, I noticed before my last trip that my highlighter was always left on the table. I realized that the blush I was bringing was so shimmery that I didn't need a highlighter, and I decided not to bring it on my trip.
That's about it for makeup and skin care. Some typical travel tips just don't work for me, such as bringing things that are dual purpose (I would rather bring two small things).
Remember what you learned from each trip, and try to find what works best for you!